Primal Whisper-VAWA

I apologize for the length of this post. I hope you will read and consider passing it on. This is a personal story of Domestic Abuse. This is a personal appeal to anyone who reads this story to get active and demand justice for all members of society who are victims of Domestic Abuse. Demand Congress pass VAWA without changes to the current incarnation. Thanks

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1971, one year before it all began

1971, one year before it all began

In 1972, I was 15; I was first a ward of the state then a runaway, a street child then finally a ‘wife’. In 1972, I was the victim of domestic abuse that would continue for three years. Abuse both physical and emotional, that would strip me of my pride and humanity that would leave scars I bear on my body and soul and that would very nearly kill me.

In 1972, there were no laws to prevent a man from beating his wife. There were no Domestic Abuse Hotlines. There were no Safe Houses. There were no cool down periods, unless some cop took pity on you.

In 1972, the best you could hope for is either he would die of a heart attack while beating you or he would give you quick death. No one was going to help you and you had no rights, you were chattel.

I have written about this before, touched upon some of my experiences as a victim of domestic abuse in previous postings, here:

https://valentinelogar.com/2012/06/03/never-again-i-will-hate-you/

https://valentinelogar.com/2012/05/03/inside-domestic-abuse/

I have tried hard to stand up and say I am not a victim; I am a survivor of Domestic Abuse. The truth of the matter, for each of us who survived violence the truth is different. When our partner, our love, our spouse was throwing us against a wall, laying unloving hands upon us, kicking us when we were down painting our days and nights in pain and fear we were indeed Victims.

  • We were victims of the person who said they loved us.
  • We were victims of our destroyed ego, our fear and our great need to make it right.
  • We were victims of a society that did not see us in our desperate need.
  • We were victims of religious institutions that told us we must return to spouses who were nightmares.
  •  We were victims of financial systems that did not allow access credit and sometimes even banking in our own names.
  •  We were victims of law enforcement who were trained to walk away from ‘domestic’ situations.
 cuttingedgenews

Perhaps, if we are standing today and we are standing without that partner we are free, but I still remember. In my very bones, I still remember. It isn’t so much I remember his brutality, though it is hard to forget; I remember the police who walked away as I swayed in the middle of the living room barely able to stand upright. I remember them looking at me knowingly, staring at the bruises, the blackened eyes, the fat and bloody lip or the bald patch in my head. I remember them telling us to keep it down or telling him, ‘I had enough’.

I Had Enough. Were they judging the beating had gone on long enough? Were they judging the amount of blood or the number of visible bruises? I have always wondered about this, always wondered what code they were speaking, sometimes they laughed with him as he agreed to ‘keep it down’. These visits by the police, these drive-by stop in and calm down visits always earned me at least one more closed fist from him as he walked by, ‘See what you did? Why can’t you be quiet?’

domestic_violence-285x300

There was only one time, my husband this man who was supposed to love me went to jail. He didn’t stay long. It didn’t matter. For once my survival instinct kicked in and I used everything I had simply to grab that life preserver when it was thrown.

A little background –

  1. Texas in 1972 was still very backward about a great many things, marriage being one of them race relations being the other.
  2. My ‘marriage’ was common law, I wouldn’t find out for several years he didn’t have a legal hold on me though I still refer to him as my first ‘husband’.

The last terrible beating and the night my husband went to jail, it wouldn’t be the last beating just the last terrible one.

He had lost badly at a poker game that night, he did this often especially close to the time rent was due. For whatever reason, somehow, his losses were always my fault; I was always the target of his rage. It was the spring of 1974, I had learned by now never show emotion, never speak my mind and never react. It didn’t help; nothing could stop his need to lash out. That night was no different as he stumbled into the bedroom stinking of smoke and whiskey I could taste the beating to come, my body relaxed to absorb his fists.

‘Wake up you stupid bitch!’

Slam, into the wall. My head bounced twice, at least and my body slid down to the floor. He had picked me up from the bed and thrown me across the room, already first blood had been shed. I curled into myself, hoping this would satisfy him, the blood patch on the wall sometimes it was enough.

‘Dumb cunt, look what you did to the wall!’

Thwack, thwack again. His shoe caught me squarely in my ribs as I curled into myself. No more I thought. But, there was more to come. Already I was crying, tears and snot joining on my face as I tried to stand.

There were no more words now, just fists and feet. Furious, he beat me to the ground time and again and when I lay there as he panted above me, he would kick me demanding I stand up. Finally, when I thought, ‘No more, enough’, I did stand and I tried to run.

Running was the worst mistake I could have made, it triggered his predator instinct, he chased me out the door and into the front of yard. Before he caught me, he had grabbed a bat, one of those hollow aluminum ones. He  continued to beat me when I was down on the ground. Finally, after what seemed an eternity the police arrived, someone must have called them. I was on the ground, unrecognizable and he was standing above me panting. I still remember the conversation:

‘Sir, sir what are you doing? You have to stop!’

‘I have stopped; this is my wife I can do anything I want.’

‘Miss, is this your husband?’

‘No, I have never seen him before.’

As the handcuffs clicked closed, ‘You are under arrest…….’

‘Bitch, I am going to kill you!’

‘Sir, I suggest you calm down and be quiet.’

When the ambulance arrived, I was taken to the hospital. I had multiple broken bones including;

  • Broken jaw
  • Broken nose (third time)
  • Cracked cheek bone
  • Hairline fracture, skull
  • Four broken fingers
  • Seven broken ribs
  • Hairline fracture, pelvis
  • Internal bleeding
  • Plethora of contusions

He stayed in jail for 7 days until his Daddy sorted things out. I stayed in the hospital for 9 days.

Yes, I went back. For a time I went back. The psyche of women in these relationships is strange; we think if we only could fix ourselves, if we only did better they (the ones who so terribly harm us) would stop. It isn’t of course true but we have been so badly damaged we believe it. We don’t love ourselves. In not loving ourselves, we also lose the flight or fight reaction.

In 1972, there was nothing to save me. Police, had no resources and DA offices had no laws under which to prosecute unless we were fortunate enough to be killed. If we ran, if by some off chance our flight instinct kicked in the courts were against us, we ran with nothing, no resources and no access to resources.

oneinfourwomen

The Violence Against Women Act changed that. It has been over 700 days since this act expired. Women, men and children are at risk. The reasons for the Congressional GOP members to stand against this act are frankly their own ideological ignorance. This act has Bipartisan support and always has, this is the first time since 1994 this act has not been reauthorized; all because it expands services to under-served communities.

What you and I can do:

Contact your representatives in Congress and demand they pass the Violence Against Women Act as it stands today with expanded services: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Other sources:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/vawa_factsheet.pdf

http://denisedv.org/what-is-the-violence-against-women-act-and-why-is-congress-playing-politics/

Comments

  1. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    I hadn’t read this one before. The bouncing of your head against the wall just hurt and hurt me. I cannot comprehend how people can do this, and I cannot imagine the position cowering, being thrown about. And I cannot relate to staying there, but for in teens staying at my dad’s as it was my place to crawl back to.

    You have overcome enormously, and I hope your story reverberates into all the darkened corners where whisper in tears those women, begging freedom but chaining themselves by fear and lack of direction, or faith things could be safer beyond.

    This was vivid and horrible, Valentine. And having conversed with you, I just hate to think it was your own experience.

    Sincere best, N’n.

    • I have never truly comprehended how abusers justify abuse in their own hearts and heads. They are deeply flawed. Those of us who survive to talk, to stand up and reveal our secret hearts and say this must end we are the voices that will change the future Noleen. This is why, even when it is hard I speak. This is why I am so proud of every single woman who stands up and speaks. Like you Noleen.

  2. My primary concern with VAWA is that it protects only adult females. Its verbiage claims it also protects infants and children, but in reality, it was politically correct legislation passed in the early 1990s under pressure from the feminist left. There’s actually more violence against men and boys in this country – not necessarily at the hands of females – but it’s a fact. I have the same reservations with the 1996 Female Genital Mutilation Prevent Act, which outlawed so-called “female circumcision.” That was bizarre because female circumcision has never been practiced in the U.S., or most other places in the world. Every year between 100 and 300 infant and toddler males die from botched circumcisions. Where’s the law to protect them? My point is simple: violence is violence is violence. It doesn’t matter the gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion or socioeconomic background of either the perpetrator or victim. It’s wrong and unjustified. As a civilized society, we need to stop classifying victims and realize that violence is an inherent problem.

    I empathize with your situation, Val. I’ve seen domestic violence in my own family. But, I’ve also known a number of people who have been victims of child abuse and neglect. All of it has a severe impact on people’s lives.

    • I do not even know how to respond to this, you are incorrect in what VAWA does. You are incorrect in the intent of VAWA. You are incorrect in the intent.

      No Alejandro, I am so sorry but no violence is not violence, not when 1 in every 4 women will be raped in her lifetime. Violence is not violence, not when 1 in every 4 women will be assaulted by her partner in her lifetime. Women hold a unique position in this world we are mothers, daughters and sisters and we are also the primary victims of a special sort of violence that seems to be easily dismissed. Someone always seems to be able to find something they think is worse or deserves greater attention. So throw women aside, ignore what women (51% of the population of the world) live with every day without justice or protection. Since VAWA has gone without authorization already states are beginning to soften their protections and their rules, already we have seen it.

      “raped? pay for your own rape kit”
      Yes that is right, one of the things VAWA did was educate prosecutors, medical providers and the police on rape and how to handle victims. No longer are their names dragged through the mud. No longer must the submit to a polygraph, except a few states are reintroducing this.

      No Alejandro, I am sorry you are simply wrong. It is not my situation, it is the situation of 25% of the women of this nation. If we don’t protect them we also don’t protect children, who by the way are already protected with laws at both a federal and state level.

      • coming from the top of the fence post, i look at all types of violence as a civil deficiency..no one across all ethnic-economic-gender or creed societal models should ever-ever suffer abuse at the hand of another. this is the century of reason–
        yes i have been through it ..i read each word as a personal memory. i empathize with my kind, i am a veteran of pain and survival. violence is endemic yet..against us all. i want a kinder world. love to those still hurting whatever and whomever they are.

        • Nadine, I am not sure what you are trying to tell me here. Did you read the blog post or the VAWA? Are you empathizing with the story or saying you don’t believe the VAWA is necessary? You will need to be more clear in your communication. This is the age of reason, yet we continue to have victims of terrible domestic violence.

          • ah, i see that i again assume people can read my mind..
            now to be clear–yes indeed i do empathize with the past or current sufferers of any abuse–
            and i do regret that in this age of post industrial wisdom and technological advance in communication, the relationships between all sorts of different people are still a testing ground for overpowering by any means–including violence, especially violence.
            my main point is that each separate law weakens the whole..the names tell the story.
            Hate Crime = aren’t they all?
            Ethnic Crime = is intolerance of external appearance not globally problematic?
            Religious wars = are creeds and group affiliations not a universal warring premise?
            Gender wars = Greek mythology and all ancient texts demonstrate the use of force over the other sex.. and that includes children in every society. old, old arrested development.
            sorry to make this so long.
            all acts of violence could be included in all directions–under a title law =abuse not permitted..abusers will be committed to thorough psychological treatment until they realize and change patterns. All involved in domestic abuse will be supported until they modify their psychological profile.
            expensive? yes, but a whole lot cheaper than paying for extended damage to women and children, men and families, it’s a cultural dilema, everywhere.

            • Sorry Nadine, in some cases and especially talking to me you will have to be very careful when discussing certain issues. There are issues of which I am intimately familiar. I am intimately familiar because I have lived inside of them.

              Hate Crime? Been there – I am a victim I live with the results and carry one of the three bullets used to try to kill me simply because of the color of my skin. My story is on this blog.

              Victim of Domestic Abuse – I nearly lost my life. I still carry the scars. I will carry them all my life.

              Rape Victim – I was only 11 years old when I was gang raped.

              Industrial wisdom and technological advances do not change the heart of man. We remain humankind. So long as this is true and so long as the balance of power remains as it is there remains a need for legislation such as VAWA. There remains a need for enhanced sentencing for Hate Crimes. There remains a need for imprisonment and justice for victims.

              These crimes are carried out against individuals. We have an obligation to protect those who are at risk.

              Gender Wars are an extension of this. If you do not understand power in our society today then it will be impossible to explain it here and I am not going to attempt to do so. Rape, loss of body integrity, wage disparity, minority representation, lack of opportunity are all part of what we would consider Gender War. So long as these things exist in this nation or worldwide there is an imbalance of power.

              As a victim who has survived I will tell you right now, I would not be willing to allow my offenders to walk away with ‘psychological treatment’. That is bullshit. They raped, they attempted to take my life, they left me on a dark street bleeding and nearly dead with lifelong injuries. They deserve to be punished not rewarded. My abuser deserved to be punished not rewarded. Those fleeing abusive situations deserve help not disdain and bullshit that we are going to treat their abuser so they can return for more abuse.

              Nadine, unless you walk in the shoes of those of us who must live with the very deep scars of what was done to us, what we survived and now must live with you cannot judge and frankly your rose colored glasses are deeply flawed.

              • valentine, i sure see the flaw in my rhetoric = i thought that i had made it plain that i am indeed a survivor of all of the above..this why i am now editing years of silent writing..to light the path of womanhood and childhood toward a better understanding of the human condition.
                Rose colored glasses? NO_NO, more like a rumbling strength and thorough examination of the underlying causes of abuse. Offering appropriate alternative methods of turning away from the punitive aspects of violence . keeping sight of both sides of issues.the why, how and roots of it.

                i have seen what happens to individuals who are involved in both sides of domestic abuse. raised into it-educated in it- and though i was spared some of the consequences you personally carry..i do hope my memoir will illustrate the strength required to deal with fear and violence in different ways.

                I want comprehensive law against all ‘crimes’ without so many distinctions..it is ALL odious, reprehensible whether perpetrated against women, children, boys, animals, religions or creeds. that is what i was saying..i repeat ALL are hateful acts everyone hurts…

                NOW, i pay respect to your tenacity. And send gratitude to you as a person, a defender of the laws in this land, promoter of necessary change. yes necessary, crucial even.

                AND, i must apologize for not making myself clear. this proves that i must pay very close attention to my text..

                • Nadine, you don’t know me. You haven’t bothered to read anything but this one single post. Until you do don’t post any other other response. I am frankly not interested in your perspective on this issue.

  3. Val, thank you for this very moving post. As someone who grew up being abused and having to watch my mother being abused, and being powerless to do anything about it, your post had a very deep emotional impact on me when I read it. We simply cannot give up the fight against domestic violence in this country and throughout the world.

    • I have said this so often with this post, I will say it again and again. It breaks my heart each time another woman says “I am a survivor” or “I watched my mothers abuse and couldn’t stop it.”

      I can only say over and again, I am so sorry. This is why I am so passionate about this issue. It has to end. VAWA is more than Domestic Violence though, it is about gender violence, it is about the rape shield laws, it is about treating rape victims humanly. We are already seeing some states trying to force victims to pay for their own rape kits, something VAWA prevented.

      All of us have to be appalled by this. In a nation that believes itself the ‘shining light’ of the world we fail miserably.

  4. Val, Your post moved me. Thank you for taking a stand and sharing such important information with us. I had heard that this Congress that just ended didn’t vote on the Violence Against Women Act and was deeply shocked and frustrated. Thanks to your post, I have just written my congress rep to let him know where I stand. Thanks so much, Val. I will definitely share your message.

    • Not only did they not pass it, the new Congress went on vacation and it is not on the calendar.

      Thank you for writing to your Congressional Representatives. It is all we can do today.

  5. Thank you for shring this very horryfying and intense ordeal. As a victim of child abuse, I know how these scars stay with you. I hug myself daily to erase those horribly helpless moments. I’m happy you’re not a victim anymore.
    Blessings,
    Isadora

    • Isadora, thank you for speaking up. I am sorry for your ordeal and hope you do more than hug yourself. I hope you have others in your life who support you and hold you up.

      Blessings in return

      Val

  6. As soon as I heard the news about the nonrenewal, I thought about the reactions by you and Elyse … and, of course, both of you came through.

    The power of this post is in sharing your experience. Just being about to write about it is a tribute to your resolve. Meanwhile, given the presence of more women in the new Congress, I would hope this would get fast tracked … but that still doesn’t change the fact of their failed actions.

    • More women does not change the make-up of Congress, it does not give us an ideological majority. Cantor and his cronies insist:

      * Immigrant Women held in virtual slavery by their American ‘husbands’ have no right to protection, no right to humanity.

      * White males who live on Reservation lands and abuse their Native partners cannot be tried in Native courts; though Tribal courts are just the same as non-tribal courts, with same jury system, the same judgment system. I guess the difference is, ‘their peers’ in this case would be Natives from a pool selected from the Reservation.

      * Domestic violence in the LGBT community is just a prevalent, but since they do not have the Civil Right to marry, hell they shouldn’t even exist according to the ideological scum of Cantor, Ryan and their ilk; they must therefore, not be included in the Act.

      These are the three new communities, currently under served, under recognized the House objected to and thus refused to Authorize VAWA.

      We do not have a majority, even with the new women. Without that majority we cannot get this passed with the funding necessary. Cantor and Boehner have said yet again they will not authorize spending without offset cuts, one more reason to withhold authorization.

      It has been 700 days Frank. Already we are seeing the affect in some states.

      • Thanks for the scoop, and I see what you are saying. Well then, maybe the additional women will be able to apply more pressure. Yet again, bills don’t make it to the floor without the Speaker’s blessing.

      • Sunday and i am here to support each of these three points which you highlight here. i would like to see all types of abuse included in one single comprehensive law..to me violence is violence..no matter gender, size or age.
        i can’t wait to finish to write about what was done to me, for editorial purposes, i don’t tell the stories online–but–more important, what i witnessed in others when i came to this country re-enforced my will to empower women to show inner strength and avoid repeating sad histories.
        color/race/creed and all other divisions are used as excuses for oppression and worse. the political process is held hostage to the good old boys system..i am but one mouse gnawing quietly at the net which imprisons the disadvantaged. i may have to carefully re-read my text to keep it in context.

  7. gailthornton says:

    Dear Val,
    It’s been thirty two years since I “escaped.” I am still afraid of him. He destroyed my will to live and I am a survivor with a passion to live now.

    • I am so sorry, I am always heartbroken over stories of another person who has been devastated by violence. There are so many of us, so many of us who stayed silent. So many of us who lived in fear.

      Some days he still haunts the corners of my mind. Some days I do a search for him, to know if he is still on this earth, still possibly breathing the air I breath. For years I was afraid to return to the city we lived in together, even 20 years later (it has been 37 years for me) I was afraid.

      I understand Gail, I do. I don’t want to just survive I want to stand up, speak out and demand justice now. Not just for me, or you. I want to demand justice for every man, woman or child that comes after us.

  8. The idea that you have to have a VAWA at all puzzles me. Doesn’t the law in America cover all assaults on every-one, and every creature?
    Is it okay to beat up women in the US at the moment? And what about animals., beating an animal is illegal in this country, is it in America? Please excuse my ignorance.
    My hearts aches for all women in male macho societies from India to America, and I hate to think of all the women with scars, emotional and physical like you have.
    Thank you for your courage and fighting spirit, and go well

    • I am not sure I can answer you question logically. The strange answer is prior to two laws and one Act, women indeed had few protections than animals. The Act was VAWA which over time changed domestic violence laws, rape response and many other things about how violence against especially women was viewed. The money laws were the The Equal Credit Opportunity of 1974 finally forced banks and other credit granting agencies to lend money to women on their own merit, it would be many years before this law was actually effective and the courts caught up with the law. Finally Equal Rights, which hasn’t been ratified in all 50 states though it is considered a national law and a Constitutional Amendment.

      In the past and up to the 90’s in many states, domestic violence was considered a problem between spouses and not a problem for the courts or the police. If the police were involved at all they would generally walk away unless the injuries were so grievous one party (man or women) required hospitalization. Usually, even with that no charges would be filed. In some states, including my own it was not only legal to beat your wife the size of the stick used was identified (no bigger than a mans thumb).

      To answer your question, no most laws are on the books and will not simply fall off even without the re-authorization of VAWA. But the act does more than prevent violence, it funds the support systems and education systems. The Act goes beyond domestic violence and address gender violence as an entire topic, it changed the treatment of rape victims in our system across most states. Without the Act and especially given some the current ideological platforms, VAWA is critical.

      • Thank you Val for this, and for going to the trouble of giving such full information…what complicated systems America has…if men are allowed to beat their wives, are they also allowed to beat their children? It became illegal here to hit children over ten years ago, and is strictly enforced…

        • Children are more fully protected than women. Physical violence against children in most cases is not allowed. We have protective services in all states that will oversee children in the home and cases of abuse.

  9. I love you. I am glad you are not silent.

  10. As hard as this is to read, I thank you for sharing it. I have been in two relationships that were no where near the levels of abuse described here, but emotionally and physically scary enough to haunt me for years, The last one still does…in my dreams at times, as well as around town if I’m having an “off” day. I will log onto the site you posted and voice my opinion about this issue. You are always so brave, Valentine, to speak the truth. Much love. XOXO-SWM

    • I knew when I wrote this it could be a trigger for some, I thought long and hard about that. The idea of comparing one abuser to another or one outcome to another is always so strange. Truly if you and I were both abused, we were both abused. That is the simple truth. There is no but you were hurt more than me so mine is less traumatic; no, we both suffered trauma, we both have nightmares, we both have long-term consequences.

      We are both survivors of domestic abuse. We are sisters.

      I am sorry you were abused. I am so sorry we have this in common, indeed I hate we have this in common.

      Thank you for voicing your opinion and standing up for VAWA. This is what we all need to do.

      Val

  11. Val, thank-you for sharing this. While I think partially you share it to help you deal with the events, I know a big reason you do this is to help others. Here is someone you help. I, unfortunately, I have experienced some of the events to which you write. I am not at a point that I can yet share this part of my life. Your words help me understand I am not alone. We are survivors rather than victims, as you say. Love, much love for you.

    • Christy, the abuse at least this part of it I have long since dealt with. The emotional scars left behind on my soul, I don’t know that we ever entirely heal from these. I think we incorporate them into our being, we grow stronger and learn to stand whole and complete scars and all. We learn to let them simply be a part of who we become, without bitterness or anger, just who we are because it is our history.

      Some of my stories, yes I tell them because I have never told them before and it was time. I am glad they help, I am glad you get something from them. I am saddened though you ever experienced violence in your life, I am always saddened when any other person is harmed by violence, domestic or otherwise. It is terrible, it is soul wrenching.

      No you are not alone, ever and if you ever want to talk just e-mail me directly. We are survivors, never victims (I hate that word intensely).

      Val

  12. Oh Val, what a terrible, heart wrenching story. I don’t know how you always manage to find such beautiful words to express such horrible, troubling things.

    I added your info on how to take action to my post. And to my agenda for the weekend.

    I also heard that these same kind hearted souls just appropriated a measley $9 billion for Sandy Relief. Makes me want to point the winds towards these assholes next time it blows a bit too strong.

    • I want the winds pointed their way as well, but it is a different wind. The wind of millions of women and men, victims of Domestic Violence who finally stand up and scream, “enough”. The wind of mothers and fathers, who stand on the steps of Congress and demand an accounting for their lost sons and daughters to gun violence in the streets, malls and school houses. The wind of each of us, for attempt to strip us of our rights as women and citizens.

      Yes Elyse, I want a wind to blow them strongly. I want that wind to blow so strongly they can no longer ignore the will of the people.

  13. I couldn’t believe it when I learned this act was not reauthorized. Just one more thing that has me shaking my head these days. So sorry you had to experience what you did. What a life of hard knocks you’ve had. I admire your honesty in revealing them.

    • It has been an interesting life. One of my sisters once said my life prepared me to survive, the worst of it. I suppose that is the truth, some of us just live differently than others. Shockingly my life is pretty boring these days. I don’t think of my past as ‘hard’ really, it is just different and sometimes difficult, it was a stream of ‘things’ that happened mostly linked to one another.

      I am not going to shake my head at this one. I am not going to sit back on this one. I am going to shake some trees and rattle some bones and demand justice.

  14. Why the hell is this an “act” that even has an expiration date!?!?!? Do those men think they will get back their right to beat us to a pulp real soon and we’ll just keep ’em quiet for a while until they’re compliant again. Then we can beat some sense into them? WTF!!!!!
    I am too angry to really speak much, at the moment. I still bear the scar of being pistol whipped on the left side of my head. I still remember how petrified I was that I was going to die, because he kept me at gunpoint and wouldn’t call an ambulance. Surely one cannot live, bleeding this much from the head. I thought I’d gotten permanent brain damage. Thank goodness I didn’t, thank goodness I escaped to a friend’s place (there were no safe houses in the70’s and early 80’s). Thank goodness I now have a voice to raise now that I might help even ONE person from this degrading and life-changing situation. PLEASE, get help. And my congress folk will be hearing from me today!!!
    Thanks, Val for sharing this powerful call to action!!
    an angry survivor…

    🙂

    • Thank you Kat, for telling your story. I am so sorry this happened, each time I read another story of abuse and violence I want to cry.

      The more of us who stand up and say I was there the more they have to listen. I am looking for more resources. I am considering sending a link to this story to NOW, maybe a few others that way they will also see the comments.

      They have to reauthorize because of the money. Any Act that requires funding must be reauthorized, that is the law.

  15. Reblogged this on The adopted ones blog and commented:
    Some who read this post by Val will be too young to understand what the reality was for women subjected to domestic violence. A handout giving the basics can be found at the link below.

    http://www.pacwcbt.pitt.edu/Curriculum/310DomesticViolenceIssuesAnIntroductionforChildWelfareProfessionals/Handouts/HO3DomesticViolenceTimeline.pdf

  16. I did not realize the act had expired either – thanks for the information. My heart breaks for what you endured and the other women who may be in a similar situation with no way out. You ARE a survivor.

    • 700+ days, it is absolutely unacceptable. VAWA has saved countless lives, not just of women but of men and children as well. Although the focus was initially on Domestic Violence, the act is far reaching and laws changed based on this act, including treatment of rape victims, rape reporting and stalking laws. We cannot allow this stand, we cannot allow these laws and the funding that supports shelters, rape kits, rape counselors, domestic violence intervention training for first respondors and a host of other programs to dry up.

      The Act must be reauthorized every 4 years with the funding. It has always received bi-partisan support. It has always been reevaluated using experts from a number of different fields to determine what changed are needed to meet social changes. The three key changes this year were specific to the needs of under-served communities and very much needed.

      Not reauthorizing, with the changes is horrifying.

  17. Your post brought back frightening memories. The only bone broken during the ten years I was with my second husband was my jaw. But my fear of him made the beatings rare. On the other hand, the verbal abuse was constant and the raping was nightly. I had five children in rapid succession before I realized that my big bully of a husband was terrified of being on the receiving end of a slap. Then I became strong enough to escape.

  18. Val this is why I so love your courage..You spoke of your beatings before, but not in such detail and my heart cries for your suffering, and for many more whose silence only means many more such crimes go on undetected .. I also had no idea about the legal system back in 72, I was married in ’75 age 20 and was glad to get away from home… It too held violence although not on the scale as your own, mainly it was verbal with the odd fight and cigarette burns, threats more than beatings,.. I count myself as lucky.. and couldnt wait to leave home to get away from it all.. Even today I cannot abide arguments, my inside shakes… a legacy left.. so thats why you have my admiration .. for you courage to stand up and say it as it is..
    I truly hope those who read this will have that same courage to report and to leave and stop being a Victim … No one should be a victim of domestic abuse… No one..

    Sending you my Warm thoughts for 2013 Val and a Big Hug from my world to yours my friend xox Sue xox

    • Sue, any violence whether verbal or physical is violence. Any abuse is abuse and eventually destroys us. I count you as no less abused than me. I count you as no less a victim than me. I count you as no different than me for surviving and standing up and walking away.

      You are courageous, heroic.

      Much love, from my world to yours.

      Val

  19. I had no idea that this act had expired. Gah.

    And I feel an ache as I read your words as I remember all the people who asked my mom, “Why didn’t you just leave?” Little in life–and nothing in abuse–is “just” that simple.

    But we sure can do our part to make it easier, and I will now, thanks to your prompt.

    • You are right Deb, there is nothing simply or easy about abuse. Certainly not for the victim and most certainly not before the first VAWA was passed in 1994. Even now, victims of domestic abuse must find the light inside that lets them reach for help, even with the help that is out there and the recognition abuse is wrong. Morally reprehensible, socially unacceptable, emotionally devastating; just wrong on every level.

      That for more than 700 days this Act has gone unfunded for ideological reasons is also morally reprehensible. All of us need to say enough. This isn’t just about women, it is about all victims of domestic violence, victims of domestic slavery in some cases and victims of gender and sexual violence. We must stand up and be counted as a nation against violence and rape.

  20. I will not stop fighting against this. The legal system MUST become a justice system. I am so, so sorry for what you endured.

    • Me neither El. If I have to continue to pull back the curtain of my own story, so be it but I will not let this go. We cannot allow ideology undo the truly good things this Act has accomplished.

      I endured. I stood up. Like you I begin to search for who I was and I found me hiding. If my story helps one other person, no matter how much it hurts me I will tell it.

      Thanks my friend, you are without peer. I love you.

Trackbacks

  1. […] me whore and property. I have written about my nearly three years under his roof and his fists, here and elsewhere. I have exposed small parts of my life as a runaway at 15, a claimed woman child with no safe haven […]

  2. […] made me think of this?  A few days ago I read a narrative of the experience of a woman who was terrorized by her douche bag husband. At the bottom of the narrative, you’ll see there is a call to […]

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